Erik Matti minus the frills
Erik Matti minus the frills
- Maridol Rañoa-Bismark () - September 20, 2002 - 12:00am
Mention Erik Matti and you’d think of a movie camera forever in motion, camera shots crying for attention – the works. Tell him this and he’ll nod meekly, only to wince later. "When I watched Ekis (the Sunshine Cruz starrer which he directed), I began to ask myself why did I move the camera so much," he says in remorse.

It’s a lesson he won’t forget. And so, this time, he wants to make amends. As director of Regal Films’ Prosti, Matti promises to let the story carry the day, not the camera shots.

"It used to be, forget the story, just enjoy the (camera) shots," muses the director.

"Now, that’s no more."

So he worked closely with scriptwriter Roy Iglesias to come up with a film that, in Matti’s words, "veers from stereotypes. This time, the prostitutes are depicted, not as victims, but as human beings who actually have fun at work."

Remember those mushy scenes where the prostitute cries right after she finishes with her first customer? Or when she tearfully explains she has a sick mother to look after? Now, you can finally banish those formula scenes to some nowhere land where they really belong.

Erik Matti’s Prosti will show the main characters discussing their work as if they were talking about the latest showbiz chismis. No big deal, just all in a day’s work.

Expect dialogues about a customer’s not-so-nice-smelling feet, how he gripes about a girl’s inability to uh, please him, etc. The movie will tell it like it is, the MTRCB (Movie and Television Review and Classification Board) notwithstanding.

"I don’t know if the MTRCB will consider this a mature film. But one thing’s sure – I’m ready for wild reactions from various sectors, including feminists," declares the young director.

True, his movie may seem like another bold one at the surface. But Matti says there’s more to it than meets the eye. A whole lot more.

"It’s a metaphor for prostitution on a much larger scale; of how we prostitute ourselves for survival," he explains.

To illustrate, Matti recalls the circumstances in which he got the assignment, his first for Regal (after his slew of Viva Films projects like Scorpio Nights 2 with Joyce Jimenez and Ekis).

"It came at a time when the movie industry was in the doldrums," he remembers. "It was so bad our group of directors were just sipping coffee for hours on end. But I had to survive."

So he did something he never did before. He bid for commercials, sending reels and reels of his work to ad agencies. Matti ended up doing commercials for products, not for the well-known bank he did prestigious institutional ads for.

"When the client wanted a big smile, I gave it to him. What a way to earn, yes. But I had to keep on doing it to live," he points out.

Matti admits getting people to see the film his way remains a big question mark. And he’s relying on no-nonsense, straightforward storytelling (look ma, no fancy camera tricks!) to do this for him.

As for his star, newcomer Aubrey Miles whom Regal trusts enough to give a big launching film to, Matti is keeping his fingers crossed she will make the grade, the way Sunshine and Joyce did before her (in Ekis and Scorpio Nights 2, respectively).

After all, wasn’t it him who directed these pivotal films, and transformed these two sexy stars into every man’s fantasy?

"I feel the pressure because I know I have to take care of my star. So I had to get assurance from Eric Ramos (FHM Magazine editor) that they’ll take care of Aubrey when the magazine featured her. I go to such lengths so my actress will make it," reveals the director.

Conversely, he has no qualms turning down an offer to launch an actress he doesn’t believe in. The producer might as well forget it. This is one director who won’t compromise his craft.

"You must fall in love with an actress before you even launch her to stardom," he states. With that for starters, there’s no telling what an inspired Erik Matti can give his audience this time around."

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